I wish I had known Bert Irvin better. He had a studio just down the road on Stepney Green, upstairs in an old Jewish School. But I never saw it. I only saw him at gatherings at the RA, where, I now realise, he was a central figure of the postwar generation whose experience of art was formed by exhibitions of Abstract Expressionism at the Whitechapel and Tate. One of a group who met at Northampton School of Art in the early 1940s. 400 people came to pay their respects at the memorial event at Tate Britain which is testimony to how much he was liked and his work admired.